There was plenty to be encouraged by with Oklahoma’s offense during Saturday’s 37-31 win over Kansas State. The Sooners put 37 points on the board which was by far their highest scoring output in the last three weeks. Producing 392 yards, at a pace of 6.7 yards per play, Spencer Rattler and company weren’t explosive but they were efficient.
Rattler completed 22 of his 25 passing attempts and, despite throwing an interception, had two touchdowns and an average of 9.7 yards per attempt. His efficiency bled over to the offense in general as the Sooners scored on on each of their first five possessions and in seven of their eight possessions in the game. The only Oklahoma possession that didn’t lead to points was the one that ended with Rattler’s interception, marking the second game (Tulane) this season that OU didn’t attempt a punt.
It’s easy to “breakdown the box score” and criticize the offense and, believe me, they’ve given us plenty to criticize this season but efficiency is off the table in regards to the Kansas State game.
What Went Right
The Running Game – After practically disappearing against West Virginia Oklahoma’s running game was back in a big way against the Wildcats. Kansas State came into the game allowing an average of just 75.3 yards per game, which was four yards better than OU’s defense. The Sooners nearly doubled that with 131 rushing yards and an average of 4.1 yards per carry. Kennedy Brooks had 91 yards on 15 carries (6.1 YPC) which were both season bests.
Improved Offensive Line Play – It was far from perfect but it was better. The Sooners had a push at the line of scrimmage, only allowed two quarterback sacks, and had a little bit of edge to the way they played. There’s still work to be done with this unit but what we saw on Saturday looked promising.
Third Down – With limited possessions came limited third down conversion opportunities but Oklahoma took care of business on four of the seven attempts. That’s good enough for a 57% conversion rate.
Passing Targets – Nine different players combined for 23 receptions on the day. Two different players (Jeremiah Hall & Michael Woods) caught touchdown passes. Marvin Mims led the Sooners with 71 yards on four catches. Brayden Willis also caught four passes.
After five weeks of football the Sooners rank 43rd nationally in total offense with an average of 433.4 yards per game. Oklahoma has the 15th ranked scoring offense (38.4 PPG), the 75th ranked rushing offense (155 YPG) and the 30th ranked passing offense (278.4 YPG).
Top Three Offensive Plays From Saturday
#3 – Jeremiah Hall’s 4-yard TD run and Jadon Haselwood’s block.
#2 – Spencer Rattler shovel-pass to Hall.
#1 – Rattler buys time and finds Michael Woods in the end zone.
What did we get miss?
What Went Wrong
Offensive Line Got Sloppy – Yes, we praised them in the top half of this post but they also weren’t above criticism. Oklahoma was flagged ten times on Saturday for a total of 85 yards. It literally felt as if all ten of those were false start penalties along the offensive line. We know that isn’t true though because it wouldn’t have left room for the personal foul.
The line had very few breakdowns in the schematics of the play but there were a few. One of them directly resulted in a sack of Spencer Rattler.
Turnover – The interception that Rattler threw wasn’t egregious but it was still a turnover. The reality is that it was pretty much the same as a punt. However, it came after a big momentum swing (The onside kick review) and it was the only possession of the game that Oklahoma didn’t score on.
Opportunity – This is becoming a theme this season where we see Oklahoma’s opponents chew clock with long and sustained drives that also subsequently keep the Sooner offense off the field. There’s really nothing the offense can do about this but perhaps it’s time to try and provide a solution at the coin toss. What would happen if OU, assuming they won the toss, selected to receive the ball rather than defer? Obviously that would put pressure on the offense to produce on its first possession but doing so would then put the opponent at the disadvantage of trying to sustain long drives while also playing from behind.
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